The Concerned Small-Scale Miners Association of Ghana has charged government to take blame for the degraded lands borne out of illegal mining activities. President of the Concerned Small-Scale Miners Association of Ghana, Michael Peprah, speaking on behalf of the group averred that government’s approach to fighting ‘galamsey’ rather posed the problem of uncovered pits.
Commenting on government’s decision to reclaim and re-vegetate mined-out areas in the country, he said government should have given a month ultimatum to all miners to cover the dug-out areas after mining. He explained that since the miners moved out of the sites hurriedly, due to the halt in their operations, they didn’t do the needful by covering up these pits.
“We have had decisions that have not helped the mining profession. Immediately the government notices that the media is backlashing them, they quickly ordered miners to halt their work and leave sites. They threatened to burn their tools. Indirectly, they helped miners who dug big pits to flee from the site without reclaiming the land. When the miner leaves, he doesn’t make sure the land is reclaimed and then he moves on to another land then the same cycle continues. So, who is the causative agent for these uncovered pits?”Michael Peprah
Earlier, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor announced that government will begin a programme dubbed “Reclamation of Degraded Lands” which seeks to reclaim degraded lands caused by illegal mining. Based on this, Michael Peprah predicted that with the announcement of this programme, government will be spending a lot of money to reclaim the lands when those who are supposed to take responsibility have gone scot-free.
Lands minister on Aggressive Afforestation Programme
Prior to this, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, disclosed that the government will soon begin an Aggressive Afforestation Programme to help revegetate and sustain the forest reserves of the country.
This programme, which he said will be done in collaboration with the central government, will ensure the restoration of the forest cover of Ghana. He made this known when he met with officials from the three main Agencies of the Ministry at the Western North Regional Coordinating Council where he craved the indulgence and support of all the agencies to help manage efficiently the lands and resources of Ghana.
“The matters of the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry has to do with the survival and progress of the country. When you talk about the forest,; the lands and the minerals of our country, that is our country and therefore needs to be protected. The forest resources of our country have been mismanaged,;exploited and utilized in a manner which has rendered it unsustainable.”Samuel Jinapor
Honorable Jinapor therefore iterated that until such a time that;the forest resources of the country bounce back and can be sustained,;the ban he placed on the harvesting and exploitation of forest reserves remains.
An advisory committee, he said, has been set up to think through ways to help bring back the life of Ghana’s forest reserves and also to fashion out an intelligent way forward on how the forest can be exploited in a sustainable manner.
The Honorable lands minister pointed out that if the forest reserve of the country is not exploited,;there are industries which will suffer for it because they;depend on the forest for their raw materials to stay in business. Therefore,;the Minister is of the view that if it must be done, then it must be done well.